Day 42: A Tisket, A Casket

Laetitia met her group at Dunquin, on the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula. It is a small community consisting of one Catholic church, one primary school, one pub, and about 100 homes, nearly half of which are vacation homes owned by people who live elsewhere. It is also home to several musicians and artists. The sound between the Blasket Islands and the mainland has treacherous currents and has been the site of a number of shipwrecks, including the Santa Maria Del La Rosa from the Spanish Armada. Laetitia and her group did a coastal cliff walk that provided excellent views of the Blasket Islands three miles away. The islands became the subject of the limerick of the day.

Thought a lass from the Islands of Blasket,
“Twould be cool to make love in a casket”
Though her beau wore a beard
He was not quite that weird
So she thought that she’d better not ask it.

Day 41: Croon Swoon

There are several communities called Milltown in Ireland, but Laetitia took her group to the one on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. It is a small town, but it has seven pubs and annually hosts the World Bodhrán Championships. The group dropped their bags at Milltown House, the bed and breakfast where they were spending the evening. Then Laetitia took her group on a beach walk and a harbor walk before stopping at one of the seven pubs for a drink in the afternoon.

As is common in pubs in Ireland, a group of local amateur musicians had come to the pub to play. The crowd that gathered grew so large that they decided to move out to a green area behind the pub. Most of the musicians were middle aged, but their bodhrán player was young and handsome. Laetitia was standing next to an older man who was a regular at the pub. He told her that the bodhrán player, Sean, had a great tenor voice. The rest of the group had been trying to convince him to be their vocalist when they got together, but he was shy. The man told Laetitia, “They finally convinced him to do it today, and they’ve got a surprise waiting for him.”

The moment came. The bodhrán player took the microphone and began to sing The Fields of Athenry. He had not sung many notes when a group of teenage girls began screaming and then seemed to swoon and fall down on the grass. The man whispered to Laetitia that one of the musicians was the father of one of the girls. He had put her up to organizing the feigned swoon.

Laetitia thought, “Sean has a beautiful voice, and it won’t be long until he gets over his shyness. Then those girls had better watch out. But, better yet, I have my limerick of the day.”

An Irish musician named Sean
Joined a band where he played the bodhrán
But when he sang a tune
Teen girls would all swoon
And fall in a heap on the lawn.

Day 40: Rude Dude

Laetitia took her group to the Gallarus Oratory. It is an exquisitely crafted dry stone building likely built during the twelfth century. The building was constructed entirely without mortar, and the stones fit so tightly together that the building is waterproof. The term “oratory” usually describes a place for private prayer rather than a church. While they were there, a spat between a visitor named Ian and his girlfriend gave Laetitia the limerick of the day.

At the stone oratory Gallarus
Ian raved ‘bout the ladies of Paris
‘Til his Irish colleen
Swore an oath so obscene
That it did the rude bloke much embarrass.

Day 39: Dingle Bells

Laetitia decided to meet her group in Dingle, itself, or as it is now officially called, an Daingean, its original Gaelic name. Looking for something that might make the day’s tour a little more interesting and provide the day’s limerick, she had recently discovered in the library three books by Rob Bailey and Ed Hurst entitled Rude UK, Rude Britain, and Rude World. The books identify places with rude-sounding names that usually have an innocent origin. She checked Rude World and found that there is a Dingleberry Road in Iowa City, Iowa in the United States. It was apparently named after the common name of a type of wild cranberry that occurs in the southeastern United States. How the name found its way to Iowa isn’t clear, but it seems to have no connection to Ireland. Having been selected for inclusion in a Bailey and Hurst book, it also has one or more rude meanings that you can figure out for yourself.

Dingle is a community of about 2,000 people situated on Dingle Harbor. After the Norman invasion, it became a major trading port, exporting fish and hides and importing wine. It was a walled city during the Middle Ages and was burnt or sacked several times during the various wars that occurred sporadically during that period. Laetitia took her group on several coastal hikes and did a walkabout in the town so her group could get photos of the picturesque harbor and the surrounding dwellings and shops. There wasn’t anything particular on this day that inspired a limerick, so Laetitia just made one up.

There was a young lady from Dingle
Who fell in love with Kris Kringle
So great was her strife
When she learned of his wife
That she made a vow to stay single.